Friday, October 22, 2010

Back to Old Shoes and Porridge

We have returned from the retreat to plan the retreat; it's back to old shoes and porridge, as one of my fellow planners put it. Isn't that a marvelous way to mark the difference between life on retreat and/or vacation and regular life?

When I told people I was going on a retreat to plan the retreat, they kind of looked at me with surprise or disbelief. I couldn't tell if they thought that 2 days wasn't enough time to plan or too much time to plan.

It turned out to be just the right amount of time. Before, the planning was done around 4 lunch meetings. In later years, the participant list varied with each lunch meeting, so part of the time was spent bringing people up to speed.

We didn't have to do that when we were all there together on retreat. We had an amazing amount of focus.

We assembled at 3:30 on Sunday and read the Genesis 3 which will be the focus of our Create in Me retreat in the Spring. We have talked about the Creation story before, but we've avoided the Fall. I much prefer the earlier versions of Creation, where God declares everything good and very good.

We wrestled with the story throughout the two days we were together. We decided to focus on the 3 questions that God asks:

"Where are you?"

"Who told you that you were naked?" or another variation of that question: "Why are you listening to someone who isn't me?"

"What have you done?"

We did everything from the mundane (designing name tags) to the very important (worship planning). We chose workshops and drop in stations. We talked about T-shirt designs, special food, and decorations. We did it all. And in between, we had Bible study and arts meditations. The only thing that would have made it better would have been a Communion service.

We did a lot of work, but it never felt like work. It was wonderful to be with creative people, wonderful to make such progress. It was wonderful to get it all done in one fell swoop.

It's strange to be so far ahead. All the way home, I had to keep reminding myself that it's only October--no need to panic about how much we still have left to do. It's not that much really--contacting various leaders to make sure they're still willing to be leaders and creating the final schedule of workshops.

The weather on the last day felt almost spring-like: cool in the morning, hot as we drove away from the mountains. No wonder my inner clock is confused. But happily, I have my notes to remind myself of all the good work we did. I feel a bit of sadness that it's so long before we get to actually enjoy this wonderful retreat that we've planned. But more than that, I feel anticipation. We've got a great Bible study leader and wonderful worship planned. We've got a wide variety of arts to experience. It's going to be a wonderful way to finish the Easter season! Plan now to join us; you can find more information here.

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